Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Clone Wars -- "Senate Murders" (Ep. 2.15)

-- Searching for the truth is easy. Accepting the truth is hard.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

This episode, I believe, is the first episode where we begin to see what and who become the core of the rebellion. I could be wrong about it being the first because I'm not looking back to see, but it is the first episode with Mon Mothma, so I'm going with it. The episode revolves around the issue of putting a halt to the creation of anymore clone troopers for the war.

Which is an interesting question when you're in the midst of a war against an aggressor. The contention of Padme, Bail Organa, and Mon Mothma is that if troop production is halted then diplomacy would have to take its place. They believe diplomacy is the road to peace. Palpatine, of course, believes that peace can only be achieved through victory on the field.

At least, that's his stated belief.

I suppose that must be somewhat like playing chess against yourself only with some of the pieces making their own decisions. Hmm... Maybe it's more like playing The Sims. My wife used to get constantly frustrated by her sims going off and doing things she didn't tell them to do.

The action in the episode has nothing to do with any of this, though. All of this is just the backdrop, but I find the backdrop more interesting than what's going on center stage. Not that there's anything wrong with what's going on center stage, because there's not. It's a fine episode and one that doesn't involve the Jedi at all. Or the clones. It's very rare in that. Still, it's the philosophical questions that are touched on that are of real interest, the things you see played out in the background.

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Philosophy of Change (Change: part 1)

On the whole, people don't much get along well with "change." Most of us just don't like it. Change is something to be fought against and conquered, not embraced. Change is the enemy.
To most of us.

To be honest, I am one of those "most of us." I do well with routine. I don't get bored easily. I'm not always looking for the "next, new thing" or anything like that. However, I am not necessarily averse to change; I just forget about it. Forget about doing it.

That's really the core of the issue with change: For most of us, change is something that happens to us, not something that we instigate. We become victims of change, and that is really the thing we don't like. That and things are different afterwards. Most of us would rather bad things stay the way they are than risk any kind of change. Change could, after all, make things worse.

But let me remind everyone of Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different (or better) result.

Look, I am fairly anti-tradition, mostly because tradition is the antithesis of change. Being locked into tradition (or doing something the same way) for the sake of the tradition (or doing something the same way) has always been (well, since middle school, anyway (yes, "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson had a huge impact on me)) mostly foolish in my eyes. Tradition (or doing something the same way) should always be evaluated to see what purpose it's performing and held up against the purpose it's supposed to be performing. For instance, Christmas gatherings are supposed to be joyous and fun occasions but, if gathering with your family doesn't not meet that goal (like if it's a thing you dread every year but do anyway because of tradition) then you shouldn't do it. That's a bad tradition. But I digress...
(And, no, I am not talking about my family with that example. It's just a thing you see a lot of at the time of year we just came through (that being Christmas (as I'm writing this)).)


A thing I try to do every so often in my life is to look at the things I'm doing to see if they are meeting the goals they are supposed to be meeting. I don't want to be one of those people who just keeps doing the same thing, only harder, over and over and hoping for a different result.

Now, before I go on, I need to say a few things:
1. My wife says that I missed my window for writing this post, especially since it's not going to post until some time in February.
2. I disagree with my wife because, as I write this, it is technically (and by "technically" I mean that it is (by almost a week)) still January, and this kind of thing can be done any time during January. (Traditionally (heh heh))
3. My wife says this post (series of posts) is for me. You can read it, but it's not for you. I think I agree with that. This place has become a good one for sort of keeping track of what I'm doing in my life at any given moment, so it will help me remember the changes that took place last year, a year of more than the normal amount of changes. Remember, I sometimes (frequently) forget to make them, so there aren't always changes. At least not ones initiated by me.
4. If you choose to read it... well, I hope it's helpful in some way, but it's not meant to be. I'm just putting out there what happened and, probably, some context so that it's understandable.

All of that said, 2015 started out with change. I spent the last month or two of 2014 looking at where I was and what I was doing and deciding on what things were working and what things weren't. So January of 2015 started with change.
But I guess we'll get to that next time.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Star Wars: Clone Wars vs. Rebels

I've been a fan of The Clone Wars since it came out. We own the series on DVD. I was less than pleased when Disney announced, shortly after acquiring Lucasfilm, that they were cancelling production on it. Season six was in mid-production and season seven was in  the early stages of production and, while it wasn't a raging, everybody-must-watch-it-show success, it seemed to be doing fine. But, then, it was just over.

And, you know, I get it. From a business perspective, what they did made good sense. That doesn't mean I have to like it, though.

See, the thing is, The Clone Wars had a problem. It couldn't figure out its demographic. It wasn't a cartoon -- excuse me, animated television show -- made for kids. That is, they, the kids, were not the specific target audience. Clone Wars was launched for the Cartoon Network's prime time, adult viewing time slot. Clearly, it was an animated show that wanted an adult audience. It featured adult characters and dealt with a lot of mature themes. Sure, all of that was then presented in half hour blocks in such a way that kids could also digest the material and Ahsoka was included to allow the younger viewing audience a character they could identify with. But it wasn't a show for kids and, so, it also wasn't a show for adults. It just grabbed people like me who wanted to know more about the gap between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith and all the kids who just like the excellent Star Wars action.

Rebels, however, is a show solidly targeting kids.You can tell because the protagonist is a kid. And, well, from what I can tell so far (only having watched the first couple of episodes), the overall action is going to revolve around the Empire's search for the "children of the Force" in its quest to exterminate the Jedi. So, still, maybe, dealing with some mature themes but, I'm going to assume, handled in a child-appropriate way. After all, we are quite used to things like dinosaurs and killer robots and gangsters chasing kids with the intent to kill.

And, well, Disney wanted to bring Star Wars to the Disney Channel, not Cartoon Network, so allowing Clone Wars to slip away allowed Disney to launch Rebels on its own network.

I'm glad to see that some of the characters from Clone Wars will carry over.

So, yeah, I'll be reviewing Rebels as I watch it, but it won't be on a weekly basis like we're doing with The Clone Wars. It will be interesting to see how it compares.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Clone Wars -- "Duchess of Mandalore" (Ep. 2.14)

-- In war, truth is the first casualty.

[Remember, you can sign up to join the Clone Wars Project at any time by clicking this link.]

"Duchess of Mandalore" wraps up the Mandalorian trilogy of episodes. In some ways, it's a stand alone episode in that the plot is self-contained; however, you really need to have watched the previous two episodes to understand the action in this one.

This episode is interesting to me in that it clearly shows Darth Sidious trying to manipulate a political situation... and failing. It actually reveals where the true front of the war is, and that is not on the battlefield. The Jedi never come to realize this. Well, at least not until it is well past too late, which we see in Revenge of the Sith. Sure, sometimes Palpatine's plans are foiled, but it's never because anyone is trying to foil those actual plans; it's always because someone is standing strong in their belief in what they're doing and the plan just doesn't succeed. It might be a fine distinction, but it's an important one.

Unfortunately, this episode doesn't go any deeper into the relationship between Satine and Obi-Wan. Well, not more than that Obi-Wan is pretty much willing to do anything for her, but you should be able to get that from the previous episode. Fortunately, if I'm remembering correctly, Satine will be back and there will be more development of the Ob-Wan/Satine story.

Death Watch is still wrapped up in the plot of this one, and we get to see Obi-Wan go toe-to-toe with another Mandalorian much in the way he goes up against Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones. It let's us see how these suits of armor they wear were really designed for combat against the Jedi.

Death Watch will be back, too.

As I said, this is a really good series of episodes and one of the ones that I remember best from my previous viewing of the series. It's not a bad place to start if you just want to test the Clone Wars waters.